The Sal league has been exciting to follow in 2015. As the calendar switches to Fall, it’s time to recognize the best talent that rolled through the league this year.
First I want to congratulate the Hickory Crawdads for wrapping up the Sal league championship last night in an impressive 3 game sweep of Asheville. They really stymied the potent Tourists bats.
In the article I crown my Sally league hitter of the year and pitcher of the year and unveil the rest of my 1st team all Sal. I’ll be back soon with the 2nd team and 3rd team.
Minimum 200 at bats or 50 innings to qualify. I wanted to focus on the guys who played in the league and not on the guys who got a cup of coffee at the end of the season.
This is a scouting site so I’m putting some weight on this year’s numbers while also factoring in the players ceiling and weighing the risk.
Some positions were deeper than others in the Sal this season, as an example shortstop was really deep. Ozzie Albies, Jorge Mateo, Javier Guerra, Luis Guillorme, Cole Tucker, Justin Twine, Michael De Leon and Malquin Canelo aren’t all going to fit on a 1st team, 2nd team and 3rd team, but all are deserving. The OF was a little thin in comparison but there’s talent there too. Cheers!
C- Aramis Garcia- Augusta (Giants)- 2nd rd pick in 2014. Drafted as a bat 1st catcher, he started slow but heated up and showed a lot of pop and a rocket throwing arm.
1B- Rhys Hoskins- Lakewood (Phillies)- My Sal League hitter of the year. 6’4″ 225 lbs Hoskins makes really good contact for a big man (17% K Rate) he shows excellent barrel control hitting everything hard and he can send a ball a long way. Plus Hit, plus plus raw power. Keep an eye out for Hoskins he’ll be tearing up the Eastern league next year.
2B- Yoan Moncada- Greenville (Red Sox)- The highest profile prospect on the list. As expected Moncada struggled the 1st month or two (he had an 18 month layoff) but then he took off, he’s a switch hitter, more of a line drive oriented swing left handed and shows more pop right handed. 70 speed.
Rafael Devers- Greenville (Red Sox)- Devers has monster raw power, I watched him hit a 410′ line drive off the top of the fence in triangle in right center field. I don’t know another 18 year old with that kind of power. Really good bat control too.
SS- Ozhaino (Ozzie) Albies- Rome (Braves) age 18. Albies has excellent bat control, he sprays the ball all over the yard and makes great contact. He also has plus speed. He’ll never be a big HR threat but as he gets stronger he’ll likely be a doubles and triples machine.
LF- Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado- Lexington (Royals)- An aggressive hitter with a long swing. When he connects he can put a charge into the ball. Will likely need to tone it down a little bit or advanced pitching will use his approach against him. Escalera also has above average speed. He doesn’t always recognise spin.
CF- Wes Rogers- I would love to see a race between Rogers, Jorge Mateo and Billy Hamilton. All three have 80 speed but Rogers is not like the others. At 6’3″ 180 lbs he’s tall and lanky and usually the tall lanky guys are fast but not great base stealers because it takes a step or two to get up to speed, not Rogers though he moves like a shot. Sal League Catchers had no chance against him. At the plate he hits a lot of low line drives and sharp grounders but strikes out a bit more than you’d like for the style of hitter he is. Not much power currently, he might grow into some more at the expense of some of the speed.
RF- Wuilmer Becerra- 6’4″ 190 lbs, Becerra has an upright stance, he utilizes a toe tap as a timing mechanism. He has a long level swing and a fast bat and sprays the ball to all fields. He has decent pop but the extra base hits mostly vanished after the first two months. Part of that can be blamed on the cavernous park the Sand Gnats called home but the larger culprit is the 55% ground ball rate and just a 20% flyball rate. Becerra is a large young man who’s going to fill out. Getting balls in the air will be beneficial. He works counts so that 20% K rate is the result of long ab’s and not just flailing.
SP- Stephen Tarpley- My pitcher of the year in the Sally (Close call with Yeudy Garcia, Luis Ortiz and Casey Meisner). Tarpley’s fastball sits low to mid 90’s and touches upper 90’s with good command. He mixes in a developing curve and change that both flash above average. Potential mid rotation starter and perhaps more if one of his secondaries takes a step forward.